Kris Black - designer, author, cartoonist, & illustrator


My Journal provides an overview into the work and creativity of being a designer, author, cartoonist, and illustrator.


Adobe Mighty and Napoleon: A New Pen and Ruler for the Digital Age

Adobe Mighty and Napoleon

Adobe is releasing not one but two new products next year and they are not apps or software. They are in fact devices aimed at creative professionals but can be useful for anyone that draws with a pencil and ruler.

Recently, I was interviewed by the E-commerce Times, in the article Adobe to Give Creatives New Gizmos, about my opinion of Adobe's new products. Below are the questions I answered directly from the article.

What do you think of the new hardware devices from Adobe (at least from what we can tell of them?)

I'm really excited about the possibility of what the Mighty and Napoleon can do. We already have large selection of stylus pens you can get to use with your tablets from leading creative companies like Wacom and Adonit (who's actually partnering with Adobe on the Mighty). Adobe has some huge steps to take with the Mighty to set it apart from what's already out there.

What do you think are the most significant features on the stylus and digital ruler, and where do the devices still seem to have weaknesses?

The strongest features of these Adobe devices will be how they integrate with Adobe's software. Apple has proven that when you can control the hardware and software you can make huge, game-changing advancements in technology and how people interact with your products.

As for weaknesses, I think Adobe is lacking control over one key aspect of these devices and it's the tablets. Adobe is still relying on tablets made from other manufacturers. If Adobe could strengthen their partnerships with hardware manufacturers like Wacom and Apple, I think they could make deeper innovations with their drawing devices. Maybe they are doing that already. We'll just have to wait and see.

They seem to have generated a fair amount of buzz so far -- do you think artists, developers, designers, etc. are itching for some new hardware designed specifically for them?

Absolutely. Creative types such as designers are always looking for ways to increase their productivity. While I don't think current technology can replace traditional medium such as pencil and paper, if companies like Adobe can make creating art digital in a way that the technology doesn't interfere with creativity then I think we'll start to see more and more people using digital tools to create art.

Who do you think Adobe is targeting the most with these new products?

Any person that starts their thinking process by sketching ideas on paper.

What can the company do to really guarantee that it hits that market?

They need to keep the price point reasonable. Adobe has been known in the past to offer great software, but the cost to own their software was expensive. If the price is competitive then they stand a good chance of getting the Mighty and Napoleon in more hands.

Also, the integration with current software and workflow needs to be seamless.

Do you think we will see more hardware initiatives from Adobe going forward?

Who knows? It's possible. Adobe is a software company and they always have been. This is a new area for them and I wish them all the success they can get. I would caution them to stay focused on what they have now. Deepening the integration with their software and keeping the Mighty and Napoleon focused on what they are meant for, to make it easier to create. If they can do that, I think we may see more from them in the future.